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Primary races to be decided Tuesday

In St. Croix County, primaries will be held Tuesday, Aug. 12, to choose both a Republican and a Democratic candidate in the Seventh Congressional District.

During this partisan primary, voters may vote on the ballot of only one party. Sean Duffy is the Seventh District incumbent.

The following are Democratic candidates for the congressional seat:

• Mike Krsiean, Houlton, who ran for Congress as an Independent in 2010.

He calls himself a “JFK Democrat,” saying John F. Kennedy believed in a smaller federal government, cutting taxes and a balanced budget and was a defender of civil liberties for all.

Krsiean graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in aerospace engineering and then worked as a design engineer at various aerospace and mechanical businesses. He currently provides engineering services through his own company, Visionary Engineering.

He and his wife, Annie, live on a 26-acre farm where they raise grass-fed beef, pork and chickens.

Krsiean’s website is

• Kelly Westlund, Ashland, who grew up in a military family and spent much of her life in the South. She settled in northern Wisconsin after earning her degree in Peace, Conflict and Global Studies from Northland College in Ashland.

Westlund worked with a local nonprofit group, Alliance for Sustainability, focusing on sustainable community and economic development. As a small business owner, she spent the last three years working with the Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative.

Westlund served on the Ashland City Council from 2011 to 2014, is a graduate of Leadership Wisconsin and is member of the Young Elected Officials Network.

Westlund’s website is

The following are Republican candidates in the Seventh District:

• Sean Duffy, Wausau, who was elected to Congress in 2010.

He says he is “one of the most transparent and accessible members to ever represent” the district. Since his election, he’s held more than 50 public town-hall style meetings in all 20 counties of the district and traveled to parades, fairs and dairy breakfasts.

Duffy worked his way through college by performing in lumberjack shows and exhibitions. After graduating from law school he practiced law two years in Hayward before becoming a special prosecutor in Ashland, then acting assistant district attorney and later Ashland County DA.

Duffy’s website is

• Don Raihala, Superior, whose career thus far has included working as an accountant, purchasing agent, construction project manager, landlord, housing resale investor, real estate broker and property manager. He has owned or co-owned several businesses in the construction and landscaping trades and currently owns a real estate business — State Lands Realty.

He graduated from UW-Superior in 1990 with majors in accounting and finance.

“The U.S. government is currently spending at an accelerated pace, beating the drum of economic recovery as the reasoning and totally ignoring the nearly insurmountable buildup of the national debt,” said Raihala.

His website is

State offices

On the statewide level, the following primaries will be held:

Democratic Party: Governor – Mary Burke of Madison against Brett Hulsey, Madison; lieutenant governor – John Lehman of Racine against Mary Jo Walters, Madison; attorney general – Susan V. Happ of Jefferson, Ismael Ozanne of Madison against Jon Richards, Milwaukee; state treasurer – Dave Leeper of Madison against David L. Sartori, Cudahy.

Republican Party: Secretary of state – Julian Bradley of La Crosse against Garey Bies, Sister Bay; state treasurer – Matt Adamczyk of Wauwatosa against Randall Melchert, Menomonee Falls.

Clerk of Court write-in race

The recent resignation of St. Croix County Clerk of Court Lori Meyer not only leaves a void in the public office, but also a lack of options for voters on the primary ballot.

While Lori Meyer’s name will appear on the primary election ballot as a Republican, the Democratic side of the ballot will be blank.

Registered write-in candidates Kristi Severson and Katie Thurmes are both running on the Democratic side of the ballot. To get on the November’s general election ballot Severson and Thurmes must not only face each other, but the winner must also exceed the threshold of 5 percent of the St. Croix County citizens who voted in the Democratic governor race in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

According to a letter to the editor written by Thurmes, she has “19 years of experience in the St. Croix County legal community (10 in private firms and nine in the District Attorney’s office)” that make her “uniquely qualified for this position.”

Severson, who has worked in the Clerk of Court office for 20 years and served as Meyer’s deputy, was recently appointed by the county’s Circuit Court judges to serve the remainder of Meyer’s term. On Monday, Meyer, a Republican, issued a statement endorsing Severson, a Democrat, for her old seat.

“Severson’s career is built on a solid ‘traditional’ work ethic. She is honest, hard working, dependable, loyal, trustworthy and committed,” according to Meyer’s statement.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

(715) 426-1049